Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Interview and Book Giveaway with Creston Mapes

by Jeff Reynolds

Today, I have the opportunity to interview Creston Mapes, who has his sixth novel out. Details about the book giveaway are below. And 


Jeff Reynolds: Welcome to Sleuths and Suspects, Creston. To start things off, I'd like to hear about how you came to Christ.

Creston Mapes:
I grew up going to church, but lived quite a wild life through high school and college. When I was about 28 I moved to Atlanta for a new job and was overwhelmed by the stress and pressure involved with my new, unfamiliar duties/responsibilities.

That pressure came to a boiling point when I was on a client trip to Fort Lauderdale. I was in the middle of some 20 back-to-back research-gathering interviews and had what I call an out-of-body experience. It was as if I was floating above myself and I became so anxious that I had to leave the conference room. Even when I returned home I was still stressed to the max.

The following Monday I went to see my doctor. He put me through a battery of tests and determined it was all stress/anxiety. He wanted to put me on meds, but I told him—not yet. I got home and told me wife, “We need to go to church.” As it turns out, that foundation I had of going to church has planted a seed in me so that, when I hit rock bottom, I knew Who to turn to for help. Soon after I surrendered my life to Christ and have been on that journey since then.

JR: Your web-site mentions that for the past 30 years you've been a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, and freelance writer. What were those experiences like?

Fantastic! I loved the immediacy and camaraderie of the newspaper business. When I got into corporate copywriting, I had the pleasure of traveling the country to visit various colleges for whom I wrote admissions materials.

Then I went out on my own as a freelancer some 22 years ago and have so enjoyed being independent, and working on marketing for fine companies such as Chick-fil-A, etc. I’ve also had the opportunity to ghost-write/edit seven non-fiction books for various pastors and personalities who wanted their stories told.

JR: You've just released the second of your Crittendon Files. Could you tell us about the series and especially about your new story?
CM:  The first book in the new series is Fear Has a Name. It is a tale that follows journalist Jack Crittendon as he fights to protect his family from a stalker’s terrifying schemes, while he investigates a pastor’s mysterious disappearance. With his family’s safety on the line, Jack realizes there are secrets behind “Christian” walls—secrets with painful, deadly implications. He must find the faith to trust a God who allows inconceivable trials, and the courage to guard his family, with danger exploding at every turn.
The second book and new release is Poison Town. It continues Jack and Pam’s journey as Jack stumbles into a hornets’ nest when his long-time mechanic falls ill. The man’s family and neighbors blame a manufacturing plant for numerous deaths on the poor side of Trenton City, Ohio. But when Jack investigates, he and his friends feel the deadly sting of those involved. Finding answers before more people die won’t be easy. Especially since another kind of poison, a shadow from the past, threatens to destroy his marriage and his family.

JR:  You've also written another two part series and a stand alone novel. Are there any key differences between them, or are they fairly similar?

 Very different. My first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, deal with mega-millionaire rock star Everett Lester who is charged with the murder of his personal psychic. During his trial, he receives letters from a young lady from Kansas who is not a fan, but who has committed to praying for Everett and his salvation. These are thrillers. My best-selling book Nobody is a murder mystery based in Las Vegas: 

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.

His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation—and perhaps a chunk of the money—into his own hands?

With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious man in the black Converse high-tops, but about the lost soul lurking within himself.

Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out, who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?
JR:  What approaches do you have in your research? Also, are you more of an outliner or a blank pager?

I write very organically, from the seat of the pants, day-to-day, minute-by-minute. That approach results in twists and turns I never even saw coming. I like to get to know my characters as I go, put them in tension-filled situations, and see how they would respond in real life? The research I do as necessary when it arises. However, for Nobody my publisher sent me to Las Vegas for three days to ‘research.’ I toured the homeless community, soup kitchens, clinics, etc. And of course the posh hotels and casinos.

JR:  What changes have there been over your three decades of pecking away at the keyboard, both in terms of writing and the society you're writing in?

 Large corporations have really come to trust freelancers like me who know how to communicate, and who know how to deliver on time and handle the business side of things.

In the publishing world, ebooks have changed everything. I don’t like that many small, independent book stores have been forced to close. Traditional publishers have taken a hit and have had to learn to change a great deal -- and are still learning, and must hire people who can lead the way in a tech-savvy industry.

As far as society goes, I am disappointed but not shocked at how the values of Americans are plummeting. From top government officials to TV and music, our Godly moorings are crumbling. But what do you expect. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Me included. It’s only by His grace I found Him. But this is why it’s important writers like me continue produce excellent literature that is thrilling, yet clean -- and also has a powerful spiritual message.

JR:  Thank you for your time. How can we keep up with what's going on with your writing?

 I’ll give you three ways and thank you so much, Jeff:

Jeff Reynolds to readers:
So now it's time for the book giveaway. Creston would like to give away three e-books of any format of Poison Town.  Three easy steps (no excuse for missing any of them).

  1. Leave a comment.
  2. Leave your e-mail address. You can spell it out, like AuntDotKahm(at)Ant(dot)com.
  3. Creston mentioned he feels its important, with godly moorings crumbling, to produce excellent literature. What is your calling and contribution in this world where the foundations are being shaken?


  1. Great interview and sign me up for the giveaway. I hope that my Christian Cozy Mysteries contribute a little to the Christian way of life. There isn't a lot of preaching in them, but I do try to interweave qualities that a Christian embodies.
    Debbie Malone

  2. Nice interview.
    I write Christian fiction and try to share more about God through my writing. Also, I'm working on a infertility devotional with several other authors because I feel like God wants me to help encourage other ladies by sharing my experiences.

  3. It's so great to meet you!

    There's a road in Louisville, KY called Crittenden Drive. I've been playing with that as a first name for a story character. When I saw that was your character's last name I about feel out of my chair. Amazing.
    I'm an unpublished author. I write Christian fiction and hope to one day strengthen others in their walk through my stories.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Actually Creston Mapes is a pretty cool name too!

  5. Glad to see Creston has come out with a new novel--a new series, actually. He's a strong voice in Christian fiction. I had the honor of reviewing his debut novel for Romantic Times magazine. Gave it high marks. I recently downloaded Fear Has a Name and would love to win Poison Town. As a fellow novelist, I'm "on the same page" as Creston with the conviction to deliver the most Christ-honoring, people-helping, top-quality stories. In my other life, I manage a senior apartment building, and am passionate about operating in integrity and providing a quality lifestyle for my tenants. My email is

  6. Great comments so far gang. Jackie that is funny about Crittendon Drive. Thanks to each of you for dropping in. Jill great to see you here! Thanks so much.

  7. Nice to meet you Creston, and I'm definitely intriguing by your books. I write children's Bible stories and I guess I feel called to show them (and their parents) real people in a real world, relating to a real God. sheiladeeth at gmail dot com